News of the week of January 14, 2020

Meeting report

Schedule

We meet every
Tuesday at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge. Please let me know
by the previous Monday night if you are planning to come on
Tuesday.

Save the date

[Walk for Hunger, May 2019]

The Walk for Hunger
people have already asked if we want to play this
year on the first Sunday in May. I asked as people were going out the door
last week and there were no cries of “Not on your
life”, so I have told them we will.

For those who don’t know, the Walk for Hunger brings out
30-40,000 people who walk by the spot where we
play on the banks of the Charles River, on the
Cambridge-Watertown line. When it’s good May
weather, it’s delightful, but we do ask people to
commit to playing even if it rains or snows.

They’ve already sent me the form to fill out about how many
people are playing and what size t-shirts they
wear.

I won’t expect a definite commitment until we actually start
rehearsing, but if you think now that it’s
something you would want to do on Sunday, May 3
from 11am to 4pm, let me know. If you don’t want
me to make up a t-shirt size for you, tell me
that, too.

The last few years we’ve been playing on Tuesdays with a fairly small
group, so we’ve welcomed ringers to come perform
with us even if they couldn’t come to very many
rehearsals. This year we are blessed with a
number of enthusiastic new members, so I think
we’ll have the luxury of performing with the same
people we rehearse with.

So my current plan is to spend a fair amount of March and April
rehearsing a 45 minute program. If you’ve played
with us before and already know a lot of our
music, you should plan to come to the Tuesday,
April 28th rehearsal, and hopefully one or two
more. If you don’t know our repertoire, you
should sign up only if you think you can come on
a substantial number of Tuesdays in March and April.

Modern Technology: phones talking to cars

New Car

I bought a new car last spring. My old car was a 2004 Honda
Civic, which had a radio and a cd player, but no auxiliary jack or
bluetooth. So when my mechanic told me the front end was rotting
out, I thought, “Goodie, I can buy a car that will talk to my
phone.”

[old car]

So in May I bought a bright yellow 2019 Honda Fit. It packs
easily with lots of instruments and suitcases, and the bright
yellow makes it easy to find in a parking lot even before you get
close enough to see the bumper stickers.

[new car]

Connecting the phone

The sales person showed me how to make a bluetooth connection
between the phone and the car, but what the car really wants is to
have a USB cable connection to the phone, so Android Auto can put
maps of where you are and where you want to go on the screen, and
play the music or audiobooks from the phone through the car
speakers.

Unfortunately, this connection was unreliable. Part of the
sales pitch was that if you were in an accident serious enough to
deploy the airbag, the car would call 911 for you. So I kept
muttering, “If it disconnects every time I go around a corner,
what would you bet that it would be still connected after a
serious accident?” I also muttered, “I bought an expensive car
and an expensive phone (Pixel 2XL) and they can’t talk to each other.”

Googling the problem, I found that it wasn’t at all uncommon.
Google’s response was to blame the cable, or dirt in the USB port
on either the phone or the car. I cleaned both ports with a
toothpick, and bought a USB cable directly from google (for $20).

Completely disconnected

The next thing that happened was that the problem stopped being
intermittent; the car and the phone stopped ever connecting at
all. Sometimes plugging in the cable would cause the phone to
reboot.

It was past time to take the car to the dealer for the first
oil change. It turns out that it isn’t the repair people who deal
with phone connection; you go talk to your sales associate. He
was quite calm and pushed some buttons in the phone settings
(faster than I could follow) and said that the phone had gotten
into “safe mode”. This causes the phone to go dead when you’re
driving, and I’m sure I never told it to do that, but Mike said it
sometimes happened with a software update. There had in fact been
a software update about the time I was digging pocket lint out of
the USB port. But Mike was never able to find the “safe mode”
option so that I could do what he did the next time. And he
wasn’t interested in my complaints about how intermittent the
connection had been when it was working.

So the phone disconnected three times in the two miles between
the dealership and my house.

With the phone disconnected, I can play the radio in the car,
but it doesn’t have either an auxiliary jack or a cd player, so I
actually have fewer audio options than I did with the 2000 Civic.

Solved

So I googled harder, and found people who had managed to work
around the problem. One person said it never happened in Airplane
mode, and another person said it happened when Google drive was
updating in the background. There are several ways to work
around this, but what I’m doing now is making sure I have “data
saver” mode set when I’m driving. This means that google drive
will not update if it isn’t in the foreground.

Unfortunately, I have to turn off the data saver mode if I want
to use the phone as a hot spot. Which I wouldn’t normally do very
often, but between how often Comcast unprovisions my cable modem,
and how often Eversource has been turning off my electricity, I’ve
been using the hotspot a lot more than I wish I were. But the
data saver setting is close to the hotspot setting in the menu, so
as long as you remember that you have to set it, it isn’t much
trouble.

Conclusion

One moral of the story is that when you solve a problem like
this, you should always post the solution to the internet (as I’m
doing here), since it’s likely nobody else will tell you.

Another is that maybe there should be better support for
automobile telephony? I’m sure Honda gives their sales associates
some training in how to fix problems, but I doubt that being a
gifted tech support specialist is high on their hiring priority
list for sales people.

News of the week of January 7, 2020

Meeting report

Maerten van Heemskerck - Panorama with the Abduction of Helen Amidst the Wonders of the Ancient World - Google Art Project

We played:

Schedule

We meet every
Tuesday at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge. Please let me know
by the previous Monday night if you are planning to come on
Tuesday.

News of the week of December 31, 2019

Michael Praetorius

Meeting report

We played:

And after eating and drinking for a while, of course we sang
Auld lang syne at midnight.

Schedule

We meet every
Tuesday at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge. Please let me know
by the previous Monday night if you are planning to come on
Tuesday.

News of the week of December 17, 2019

Meeting Report

Kinderwiege 1779 VLM

Schedule

We meet every
Tuesday at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge. Please let me know
by the previous Monday night if you are planning to come on
Tuesday.

We will not meet on December 24, Christmas Eve.

A couple of people said they wanted to come on December 31, New
Years Eve, so we will be meeting then.

News of the week of December 10, 2019

Meeting report

Cervus elaphus Luc Viatour 1

We played:

Schedule

We meet every
Tuesday at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge. Please let me know
by the previous Monday night if you are planning to come on
Tuesday.

We will not meet on December 24, Christmas Eve.

We may not meet on December 31, New Years Eve, on the grounds
that people either have party invitations or
prefer to stay home rather than share the roads with the
people with the party invitations. But this may be an
old-fashioned point of view, so if some people want to
meet, I’m happy to do so.

The party is on December 28, starting at 4pm. Please come, and bring your friends and family. There are invitations,
which you can print.

News of the week of December 3, 2019

Meeting report

We played:

Schedule

We meet every
Tuesday at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge. Please let me know
by the previous Monday night if you are planning to come on
Tuesday.

We will not meet on December 24, Christmas Eve.

We may not meet on December 31, New Years Eve, on the grounds
that people either have party invitations or
prefer to stay home rather than share the roads with the
people with the party invitations. But this may be an
old-fashioned point of view, so if some people want to
meet, I’m happy to do so.

Party

Louvre-Lens - L'Europe de Rubens - 004 - Vierge à l'Enfant entourée des saints Innocents (A)

Based on the feedback from last week’s poll, it looks like
Saturday, December 28, is the best date for this year’s
party. So if anyone knows of traditional revelry for
celebrating the Feast of the Holy Innocents, you should
let me know about it, since I don’t.

It’s the usual drill – we alternate eating and drinking with
singing and playing (some people continue to eat and drink
in the living room while the singing and playing happens
in the dining room). This starts at 4 in the afternoon,
and goes on until people leave. If you’ve been thinking
about coming on Tuesday, this might be an easier way to
break the ice, since you’ll know a lot of the music.

Please come, and bring your friends and family. There are invitations,
which you can print.

Concert

Miyuki Tsurutani, organ, and members of the Boston Recorder
Orchestra
, Renaissance recorders, will play a concert
on Monday December 9th, 2019 at 7:30PM, First Church, 11 Garden St, Cambridge

.